Marriage Old Fashioned? Just Throw a Kegger!

I have just been told that my marriage of 35 years is old and obsolete! Wow! I was also informed that the marriages “now days” are shorter no longer than 7 to 11 years. I was shocked to say the least. If you are going into this short term then delete the vows “Till death do us part”. I am in my marriage for the long haul. I am growing old with the man I love, my BEST FRIEND.

I recently read and article in CNB News “First-time marriages: probably 20 to 25 percent have ended in divorce on average,”  according to Shaunti Feldhahn in an article written by Paul Strand http://www.cbn.com/cbnnews/us/2014/May/Divorce-Shocker-Most-Marriages-Do-Make-It/ . This is much lower than we are led to believe. I have been told it is as high as 50%. So glad to see it is much lower.

So if this relationship you’re in is for the short term then why have the expensive dress, cake flowers, wedding and reception? Just throw a kegger and put up a banner that says “Together until we find someone better”, gifts optional!

No matter what the statistics are and what the naysayers are chanting, I am in my marriage for the long term, say 200 hundred years or more!

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In the Kitchen with Grandma Jo

I have been baking and cooking for the upcoming Holidays. Nope, definitely not good for the waist line as I do test them all.   This ritual reminds me of my Grandma Jo’s kitchen, always full of fantastic smells and always cookies in her cookie jar. There are times when I feel her in my kitchen shaking her finger at me for taste testing.

My latest culinary creation was “Cranberry-Ginger Chutney”

The ginger gives the cranberries a little kick. Here is a single batch of the yummy goodness. I double the recipe and bottle then freeze (leave room at the top for expansion) so I can have some all year around.

1 bag cranberries

2 cups spiced apple cider

1 cup brown sugar

3/4 tsp grated FRESH ginger (please remember to peel first)

1/2 tsp lemon, lime or orange zest (optional, I use lime)

1/2 tsp salt

In a medium sized pan, boil the cranberries with the apple cider 6 to 7 minutes until you hear the berries popping. Simmer on medium low for about 10 minutes. Then add the brown sugar, ginger, citrus zest and the salt. Let all this goodness simmer for another 20 minutes. Transfer to containers and refrigerate.

If making a large batch, pour the hot liquid (careful not to burn yourself) into canning jars. Invert (set jar on lid) so it will seal correctly. Store again in the refrigerator and give as gifts.

Have a great Thanksgiving!

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Handmade Gifts – Crock Pot Apple Butter

Again this year I am making my Home Made Apple Butter.  Great gift idea!

Crock Pot Apple Butter

6 1/2 pounds apples – peeled, cored and sliced
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup dark brown sugar, lightly packed
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract (add when finished cooking)

  1. Core and slice apples. I do not peel mine.
  2. Put the apples in a 4 quart or larger crock pot, then add the sugar and spices. Stir the mixture the best you can then cover and cook on high for one hour.
  3. Cook on low (stirring occasionally, I stir every hour), until the apple butter reaches a spreadable consistency and is dark brown in color. This takes 12 or more hours depending on your crock pot.
  4. Transfer to hot, sterilized jars (aproximately 8 half pints), I boil my jars and lids and imediately fill as I take them out of the boiling water. Take care not to fill past the headspace line. Refrigerate any jars that fail to seal properly.

 

To Freeze: Allow the jars to cool. Then, place in the freezer. Use within a year, for the best quality.

 

Slow Cooker Apple Butter

Yield: 4 pints

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 12 hours

Ingredients:

Directions:

Notes:

– I used a combination of Granny Smith, Red Delicious and Honey Crisp apples for this recipe. I also increased my recipe to 9 pounds of apples and adjusted the rest of the recipe accordingly. This yielded 12 half pints.
– The sweetness of your apples will depend on how much sugar you use. I used mostly brown sugar as I try to stay away from white sugar. Adjust according to your apples and preferences.

– You can speed up cooking time by keeping it on high but you MUST stir every hour.
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Allergy Journal

Allergy Journal

I have found over the last few years that I have more food allergies then you can shake a stick at!  It all started when I could not keep any food down and the doctors could not, with all their tests, figure out what was wrong with me.  This is when I started keeping a food/allergy journal.

A food journal is not a substitute for the guidance of your physician. Rather, it is a supplement.

Food allergies are quite common, especially in the young and as you start aging.

Begin by eliminating the most common triggers of food allergies:

  • Berries
  • Buckwheat
  • Chocolate
  • Cinnamon
  • Citrus Fruits
  • Coconut
  • Corn
  • Dairy
  • Egg Whites
  • Mustard
  • Nuts
  • Peas
  • Peanut Butter
  • Pork
  • Shellfish
  • Soy
  • Sugar
  • Tomatoes
  • Wheat
  • Yeast

Then after one week, with none of these foods in your diet, start introducing them back into your diet, slowly, one by one and write down, in your food journal, how you react to them.  Jot down if you seem tired, irritable, happy.  How do you feel, what is your mood, grumpy etc.  Do your joints burn, do you have dancing legs, sleepless nights.

Each time you eat, mark the time and write down every food you eat, (in a single colum) including brand names, beverages, and frying oils. Note any additions, toppings, sides or additives. The goal is to be as complete and truthful as possible. Do update your journal immediately after eating; this is one of those tasks that is easiest to do after each meal or snack. Write it down while you still remember.

If you experience symptoms, in the colum next to the foods, write down a brief discription of your symptoms/reactions. While your physician is in the best position to determine whether the most recent meal or any snack item has actually caused the symptoms, this is a good way to keep the journal organized.

A lot of people are allergic to the additives in processed foods.  I now make my own bread in order to avoid these additives.  I also grow a lot of my own vegetables to avoid GMO’s or Genetically Modified Foods.

Nightshade Allergy Symptoms

The first symp­toms of the affects of night­shades are sleepi­ness, abdom­i­nal cramps, diar­rhea, dancing legs within the first hour after ingest­ing and often migraine headaches within 24 hours. Many peo­ple suf­fer with chronic joint pain due to a sen­si­tiv­ity to night­shade plants, which will even­tu­ally lead to arthri­tis if ignored.

The nightshade family of plants are eggplant, peppers, potatoes, onions, tomatoes, tomatoes, bell peppers, hot peppers, eggplants, pimentos, huckleberries, tomatillos, paprika, ground cayenne pepper and hot sauce and yes . . . even blueberries and tobacco. These plants have alkaloids which can cause inflammation and cause allergic reactions. If a person is allergic to one nightshade food, then there is a 75% chance they will be allergic to all nightshades.

Nightshade allergies seem to have more symptoms than other food allergens. Here is a partial list of symptoms which can result from a nightshade allergy:

  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Depression
  • Tiredness
  • Headaches
  • Joint pain
  • Upset stomach
  • Skin swelling

Treatment

MayoClinic.com states “The best treatment for an allergy to nightshade vegetables is to eliminate them from your diet. If you accidentally consume nightshade vegetables, use an antihistamine to treat minor allergy symptoms, such as sneezing, watery eyes and hives. Over-the-counter digestive medications will have no effect on digestive symptoms until the proteins pass.”

Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/320713-allergies-to-nightshade-vegetables/#ixzz1tS6qr5FF

Eliminating foods in the nightshade family may provide pain relief for arthritis sufferers. Research suggests that some people may be sensitive to the alkaloids found in nightshade, or Solanaceae, foods. Along with joint pain, the nightshade foods may cause muscle spasms and digestive upset. You may find some common substitutes for the nightshade foods helpful.

Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/265055-list-of-foods-for-those-allergic-to-nightshade/#ixzz1tS7SrSc8

I am not an expert, but this is what helped me determine my food allergies!

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Milk Free Cheese Cake- A Year of Living Cheap

What did our parents ever do without the internet?  I use the internet every day to research prices and products I need.  I also use the internet for recipes for thing I want to make, bake and create.  I have a lot of food allergies and this is such a huge help in finding substitutes of items in the recipes.

I love cheese cake but am lactose intolerant.  A lot of people can not have milk products and their symptoms range from simple gas to those of us that have to run quickly to the bathroom!  Since I want to take a cheese cake to our family Thanksgiving dinner and I can find no bakery in my area that makes dairy free cheese cakes that don’t cost an arm and a leg, I did my research and here is what I found!

PREP TIME: 30 MINUTES

COOK TIME: 1 HOUR

TOTAL TIME: 1 HOUR, 30 MINUTES

YIELD: 1 9″ CHEESECAKE

INGREDIENTS:

  • For the Crust:
  • 1 1/4 cup finely ground dairy-free graham cracker crumbs (from either store-bought or homemade graham crackers)
  • 1/4 cup white granulated sugar
  • 5 T. melted dairy-free soy margarine
  • For the Filling:
  • 4 8-ounce packages dairy-free cream cheese, such as Tofutti Better than Cream Cheese
  • 1 1/4 cup white granulated sugar
  • Egg Replacer for 4 eggs (I use Ener-G Egg Replacer) or, alternatively, 3 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup dairy-free sour cream, such as Tofutti Sour Supreme
  • 1 t. pure vanilla extract
  • For the Topping:
  • Several tablespoons of dairy-free sour cream, such as Tofutti Sour Supreme
  • 1 21-ounce can cherry pie topping
  • Vegan Whipped Cream, for serving (optional)

PREPARATION:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease a 9″ spring-form pan well with dairy-free soy margarine. Set aside.

2. Make the crust. In a small mixing bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs and white granulated sugar until well combined. Add the melted dairy-free soy margarine and mix until well combined. Press the mixture evenly into the bottom and up 2″ of the sides of the prepared pan. Place in the oven for 5 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack while preparing the filling.

3. Make the filling. Using a standing mixer or an electric hand mixer, beat the dairy-free cream cheese in a large mixing bowl until smooth. Add the sugar and continue to mix until smooth, about 2-3 minutes. Add the Egg Replacer, beating until well combined, followed by the dairy-free sour cream and pure vanilla extract, beating well with each addition and scraping down the sides periodically to ensure even mixing. Pour the filling into the prepared crust and bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until the top of the cheesecake is lightly browned. Spread several tablespoons of dairy-free sour cream over the surface of the cheesecake to fill in any cracks. Transfer to a wire cooling rack to cool completely for 1-2 hours, then transfer to the refrigerator for at least 2 hours to chill completely. Top with the cherry topping, then return the cake to the refrigerator for 1 more hour. Serve the cake cold with Vegan Whipped Cream if desired.

And here is the link I used. http://dairyfreecooking.about.com/od/cakes/r/Cherry-Cheesecake.htm  

Enjoy!

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Paying off Debt – A Year of Living Cheap!

So now you are saving money and what do you do with that extra money?  Buy stuff, go out dancing?  NO!  Now you start paying off debt and putting some money away for a rainy day.

Don’t attack your debt by adding it all up and dividing by some number you pulled from the sky.  Start slowly.  First you start with your lowest credit card and try to double  the payments each month.  If you can’t double the payment then add something, anything to make it a larger payment AND do not use that card again.  Cut it up.  I have a friend that  froze hers in a block of ice so she has time to come to a better decision by the time the block of ice thaws.

When you have your smallest debt paid off then add that entire payment to your next smallest debt, and just keep on going.  You will be surprised how satisfying this is and how fast your debt is paying off.

Same with saving money.   Start off with as little as $10.00  per week and after six months add 5 to 10 more dollars and before you know it you have a down payment on a car or the house of your dreams.

Start small, don’t get discouraged.  But if you don’t start somewhere some day you will really be sorry.

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Discounts for Seniors – A Year of Living Cheap!

I recently read an article posted by Chuck McDonald on FaceBook about Senior Discounts and felt it was worth reposting in my blog. 

As I was waiting in line behind an older gentleman at Wendy’s recently, I heard him ask for his senior discount. The girl at the register apologized and charged him less. When I asked the man what the discount was, he told me that seniors over age 55 …get 10% off everything on the menu, every day. (But you need to ASK for your discount.)

Being of ‘that’ age myself, I figured I might as well ask for the discount too.  This incident prompted me to do some research, and I came across a list of restaurants, supermarkets, department stores, travel deals and other types of offers giving various discounts with different age requirements. I was actually surprised to see how many there are and how some of them start at the young age of 50 .

This list may not only be useful for you, but for your friends and family too.

Dunkin Donuts gives free coffee to people over 55 .
If you’re paying for a cup every day, you might want to start getting it for FREE.

YOU must ASK for your discount !

RESTAURANTS:
Applebee’s: 15% off with Golden Apple Card (60+)
Arby’s: 10% off ( 55 +)
Ben & Jerry’s: 10% off (60+)
Bennigan’s: discount varies by location (60+)
Bob’s Big Boy: discount varies by location (60+)
Boston Market: 10% off (65+)
Burger King: 10% off (60+)
Chick-Fil-A: 10% off or free small drink or coffee ( 55+)
Chili’s: 10% off ( 55+)
CiCi’s Pizza: 10% off (60+)
Denny’s: 10% off, 20% off for AARP members ( 55 +)
Dunkin’ Donuts: 10% off or free coffee ( 55+)
Einstein’s Bagels: 10% off baker’s dozen of bagels (60+)
Fuddrucker’s: 10% off any senior platter ( 55+)
Gatti’s Pizza: 10% off (60+)
Golden Corral: 10% off (60+)
Hardee’s: $0.33 beverages everyday (65+)
IHOP: 10% off ( 55+)
Jack in the Box: up to 20% off ( 55+)
KFC: free small drink with any meal ( 55+)
Krispy Kreme: 10% off ( 50+)
Long John Silver’s: various discounts at locations ( 55+)
McDonald’s: discounts on coffee everyday ( 55+)
Mrs. Fields: 10% off at participating locations (60+)
Shoney’s: 10% off
Sonic: 10% off or free beverage (60+)
Steak ‘n Shake: 10% off every Monday & Tuesday ( 50+)
Subway: 10% off (60+)
Sweet Tomatoes: 10% off (62+)
Taco Bell : 5% off; free beverages for seniors (65+)
TCBY: 10% off ( 55+)
Tea Room Cafe: 10% off ( 50+)
Village Inn: 10% off (60+)
Waffle House: 10% off every Monday (60+)
Wendy’s: 10% off ( 55 +)
Whataburger: 10% off (62+)
White Castle: 10% off (62+) This is for me … if I ever see one again.

RETAIL & APPAREL :
Banana Republic: 30% off ( 50 +)
Bealls: 20% off first Tuesday of each month ( 50 +)
Belk’s: 15% off first Tuesday of every month ( 55 +)
Big Lots: 30% off
Bon-Ton Department Stores: 15% off on senior discount days ( 55 +)
C.J. Banks: 10% off every Wednesday (50+)
Clarks : 10% off (62+)
Dress Barn: 20% off ( 55+)
Goodwill: 10% off one day a week (date varies by location)
Hallmark: 10% off one day a week (date varies by location)
Kmart: 40% off (Wednesdays only) ( 50+)
Kohl’s: 15% off (60+)Modell’s Sporting Goods: 30% off
Rite Aid: 10% off on Tuesdays & 10% off prescriptions
Ross Stores: 10% off every Tuesday ( 55+)
The Salvation Army Thrift Stores: up to 50% off ( 55+)
Stein Mart: 20% off red dot/clearance items first Monday of every month ( 55 +)

GROCERY :
Albertson’s: 10% off first Wednesday of each month ( 55 +)
American Discount Stores: 10% off every Monday ( 50 +)
Compare Foods Supermarket: 10% off every Wednesday (60+)
DeCicco Family Markets: 5% off every Wednesday (60+)
Food Lion: 60% off every Monday (60+)
Fry’s Supermarket: free Fry’s VIP Club Membership & 10% off every Monday ( 55 +)
Great Valu Food Store: 5% off every Tuesday (60+)
Gristedes Supermarket: 10% off every Tuesday (60+)
Harris Teeter: 5% off every Tuesday (60+)
Hy-Vee: 5% off one day a week (date varies by location)
Kroger: 10% off (date varies by location)
Morton Williams Supermarket: 5% off every Tuesday (60+)
The Plant Shed: 10% off every Tuesday ( 50 +)
Publix: 15% off every Wednesday ( 55 +)
Rogers Marketplace: 5% off every Thursday (60+)
Uncle Guiseppe’s Marketplace: 15% off (62+)

TRAVEL :
Airlines:
Alaska Airlines: 50% off (65+)
American Airlines: various discounts for 50% off non-peak periods (Tuesdays – Thursdays) (62+)and up (call before booking for discount)
Continental Airlines: no initiation fee for Continental Presidents Club & special fares for select destinations
Southwest Airlines: various discounts for ages 65 and up (call before booking for discount)
United Airlines: various discounts for ages 65 and up (call before booking for discount)
U.S. Airways: various discounts for ages 65 and up (call before booking for discount)
Rail:
Amtrak: 15% off (62+)
Bus:
Greyhound: 15% off (62+)
Trailways Transportation System: various discounts for ages 50+

Car Rental:
Alamo Car Rental: up to 25% off for AARP members
Avis: up to 25% off for AARP members
Budget Rental Cars: 40% off; up to 50% off for AARP members ( 50+)
Dollar Rent-A-Car: 10% off ( 50+) Enterprise Rent-A-Car: 5% off for AARP members Hertz: up to 25% off for AARP members
National Rent-A-Car: up to 30% off for AARP members

Overnight Accommodations:
Holiday Inn: 20-40% off depending on location (62+)
Best Western: 40% off (55+)
Cambria Suites: 20%-30% off (60+)
Waldorf Astoria – NYC $5,000 off nightly rate for Presidential Suite (55 +)
Clarion Motels: 20%-30% off (60+)
Comfort Inn: 20%-30% off (60+)
Comfort Suites: 20%-30% off (60+)
Econo Lodge: 40% off (60+)
Hampton Inns & Suites: 40% off when booked 72 hours in advance
Hyatt Hotels: 25%-50% off (62+)
InterContinental Hotels Group: various discounts at all hotels (65+)
Mainstay Suites: 10% off with Mature Traveler’s Discount (50+); 20%-30% off (60+)
Marriott Hotels: 25% off (62+)
Motel 6: Stay Free Sunday nights (60+)
Myrtle Beach Resort: 30% off ( 55 +)
Quality Inn: 40%-50% off (60+)
Rodeway Inn: 20%-30% off (60+)
Sleep Inn: 40% off (60+)

ACTIVITIES & ENTERTAINMENT ;:
AMC Theaters: up to 30% off ( 55 +)
Bally Total Fitness: $100 off memberships (62+)
Busch Gardens Tampa, FL: $13 off one-day tickets ( 50 +)
Carmike Cinemas: 35% off (65+)
Cinemark/Century Theaters: up to 35% off
Massage Envy – NYC 20% off all “Happy Endings” (62 +)
U.S. National Parks: $10 lifetime pass; 50% off additional services including camping (62+)
Regal Cinemas: 50% off Ripley’s Believe it or Not: @ off one-day ticket ( 55 +)
SeaWorld, Orlando , FL : $3 off one-day tickets ( 50 +)

CELL PHONE DISCOUNTS :
AT&T: Special Senior Nation 200 Plan $19.99/month (65+)
Jitterbug: $10/month cell phone service ( 50 +)
Verizon Wireless: Verizon Nationwide 65 Plus Plan $29.99/month (65+).

MISCELLANEOUS:
Great Clips: $8 off hair cuts (60+)
Supercuts: $8 off haircuts (60+)

NOW, go out there and claim your discounts – – and remember — YOU must ASK for discount —- no ask, no discount.
I Know everyone knows someone over 50 please pass the one on!!!!!